The Sacramento Kings roll into Cleveland Monday evening trying to snap out of a funk. Losers of three straight and 7-of-8, Sacramento draws a Cavs team that currently sits atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Over their last eight contests, the Kings defense is yielding an astonishing 117.9 points per game. Regardless of who they are playing, Sacramento is giving up open looks both at the rim and behind the arc. Sunday in Boston, the Kings gave up 74 points in the first half and for the second straight game, their opponent scored 128 points.
The Cavs are fresh off a 99-84 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. LeBron James continues to pace the star-studded group. Since replacing Dave Blatt as head coach nine games ago, Cleveland is 6-3 under Tyronn Lue.
Cavs by 12.5
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 21-30, third place in Pacific
Cavs: 36-14, first place in Central
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Rajon Rondo vs. Kyrie Irving -- Irving is still working himself back into All-Star form after a knee injury in last year’s finals. Rondo knows his plight all too well, undergoing surgery himself a few years back. Irving is an explosive scorer that has hurt the Kings in the past. Rondo will need to bring a strong defensive effort if the Kings have any chance of slowing down the former Rookie of the Year.
Kings: F Rudy Gay (left ankle) is listed as doubtful, but will play, CSNCalifornia.com has learned. SG Ben McLemore (sprained right wrist) is listed as doubtful and is unlikely to play. Rajon Rondo (Right 1st MTP Joint Sprain) and DeMarcus Cousins (Sprained left ankle; Strained right shoulder) are listed as probable.
Cavs: F Kevin Love (quad) questionable, PG Matthew Dellavedova (back) questionable.
This is the first of two meetings between the Kings and Cavs this season. The Kings own a 56-55 advantage in the all-time series, but trail the Cavs 35-22 during the Sacramento-era.
“Our focus has got to be better, it’s got to be stronger, it’s got to be more defensive-minded. I think right now offensively we’re fine but we just can’t give up the numbers we’ve been giving up.” --George Karl